Film ID: NEFA 9622 Video of NEFA 9622 The Long Tradition FIRST EDITION: THE LONG TRADITION 1987 Visitor TabsDescription A Tyne Tees Television production for the Channel 4 Television series First Edition, which chronicles the musical development and background of Northumbrian musician Kathryn Tickell. The film features her performing on stage with the group Lindisfarne as well as with members of her extended family in and around her home town of Wark-on-Tyne. She is also filmed performing alongside local musicians Joe Hutton, Willy Taylor and Will Atkinson as well as Alistair Anderson following being a judge at the Rothbury Music Festival. Through the film Kathryn learns about the importance of music not only within her own family, but throughout the history of Northumberland as a place. The film opens on a view of the River North Tyne with a tall Reivers tower on the distant far bank. The film fades to show views of the group Lindisfarne performing on stage. In her dressing room Kathryn Tickell oils her Northumbrian Small Pipes. Back on stage the song comes to an end and Kathryn is welcomed on stage. There is a view of the audience including her parents Mike and Kathleen Tickell. She speaks into the microphone and begins to perform for the crowd. As Kathryn begins to play the film fades to show her sitting along the banks of the River North Tyne beside two greyhounds. She gets up and begins to walk along the grassy riverbank. The film cuts to an aerial views of WIllowbog Farm and Middlebain Farm in rural Northumberland where her family come from. The film fades to show Kathryn walking across Wark Bridge towards her home village of Wark-on-Tyne with her two greyhounds. Inside The Grey Bull Inn at Wark Kathryn plays her Northumbrian Small Pipes to an audience which includes her parents and grandfathers Joe Tickell and Mark Robson. On the wall is a photograph of the Wark football team about whom the tune she is playing is about. Her tune comes to the end and everyone applauds. Kathryn’s grandfather Joe Tickell is interviewed about her music. Around him a number of people are sitting drinking and listening including Kathryn’s father Mike Tickell. Joe is handed a violin and begins to recite a ballad. He picks up the violin bow and rubs the instrument as the film fades to Kathryn playing a violin. The film fades back to Joe who continuing his story. The film cuts to an aerial view along Hadrian’s Wall. Walking beside the wall on a summer’s day is Kathryn and her father Mike talking about the history of Northumberland. At a section in the wall Mike points down at where cattle raiders would drive the cattle through. There are general views of the surrounding landscape. Kathryn and Mike arrive at a Reivers tower and look up at the high walls. Kathryn goes inside and climbs a set of narrow stone steps to reach the top. She comes out onto the battlements and looks down on her father below. She sits in a spot out of the wind as her father tells her this was where the night watchman would sit. As the camera moves in slowly on Kathryn’s face the film fades back to her on stage telling a story to an audience. Once the story is over she begins playing her pipes again. The film fades to an aerial view of Town Shield Farm belonging to Henry Robson. Along a track comes a brown Mini Metro car. General views follow of a herd of sheep against a stone wall. The car pulls up outside a farmhouse and Kathryn and her father get out. The film cuts to Henry Robson in a field shearing a sheep using hand clippers. Mark Robson, Kathryn’s grandfather, comes into the field and the two men begin to talk. Inside the farmhouse Kathryn reads from a book watched by her father, mother and a second woman. A violin case sits on the nearby table. Henry and Mark Robson come into the kitchen followed by a third younger man. Rum and whiskey are brought out and put on the table along with a number of glasses. Henry and Mark look through a family bible and talk about its heritage. The film cuts to an aerial view of the farm and fades back inside the farm where Kathryn is playing her violin beside two men playing concertinas. One of men is Henry Robson. Around the room a number of people sit listening including Kathryn’s mother who sits in a large chair. There is another aerial view of the farm fading back into the farmhouse where Mike Tickell is singing. There are views of some of the people listening including Kathryn who takes a sip from her drink. The film cuts to Kathryn and the two concertina players performing again, the audience clap as they finish. The film cuts to show Mark Robson with Kathryn, her father and another woman walking past the ruins of a shepherd’s home. Mark talks about the history of the building. General view follows showing a forest of spruce trees. On a hillside a sheep dog herds a number of sheep. Mark Robson walks along a farm track carrying a walking stick. There is a general view of the rural landscape and Mark continuing to walk away from camera along the track. The film cuts to a view of the North Tyne River with the Reivers tower seen at the beginning of the film. General views follow around the tower and water flowing downstream. The hooves of a horse walk along a track followed by a panoramic view of the Cheviot Hills. General interior and exterior views of a disused fortified farmhouse or bastle house. Outside a set of stone steps lead up into the building. Inside the room is empty but has a large stone hearth. The film cuts to a view of the painting ‘Gilnokie Tower in 1530’ by Henry Hetherington Emmerson. The painting shows the triumphant Reivers returning to Gilnockie Tower in Dumfriesshire. The painting fades to show a row of terraced cottages. Sitting in the living room Kathryn plays her violin alongside Joe Hutton on the Northumbrian Small Pipes, Will Atkinson on harmonica and Willy Taylor on fiddle. The tune comes to an end and Kathryn and Willy talk about their playing. They play a duet, ‘Christine Turner’. Kathryn swaps seats with Will and sits next to Joe. They play another duet. The film fades to show Kathryn back on stage talking to the audience about her next piece of music. She begins to play her pipes. As the music continues the film fades to a view along High Street in Rothbury on a rainy day. Water comes down a drain pipe. Cars drive past their wipers going. Attached to a lamppost is a poster that reads ‘Rothbury Music Festival July 17 - 19’. General views of people and dogs very wet and making their way through the rainy town. On the High Street a group of costumed young street performers enact a play for a crowd. The film cuts to a view from a hill looking down on Rothbury. Exterior views of some of the locations in Rothbury where the festival is taking place including the Newcastle Hotel, the United Reformed Church and the Coquet Vale Hotel. General view of a single storey building, possibly a school, along a road. Inside a young boy, Paul Higgs, plays the Northumbrian Small Pipes as part of a music competition. Sitting on a table nearby Kathryn and a man sit making notes. Sitting on the mantelpiece there is a view of the Rothbury Traditional Music Festival trophy. The film cuts back to Paul as he finishes his piece. The audience applauds as a second competitor, Rebecca Taylor, begins to perform. There are views of the audience which includes Mike and Kathleen Tickell. Rebecca finishes playing and the crowd applaud. After an introduction Kathryn gets up and gives her opinions on the performances she has seen and heard. The film cuts to an exterior view of The Sun Kitchen on Town Foot in Rothbury. Inside around a number of tables sit a small group including Willy Taylor as well as Rebecca Taylor, Paul Higgs and Kathryn all talking about music. The film cuts to the green below High Street where two men perform on their violins. A young girl plays her violin nearby. Sitting inside a car with a cigarette hanging from his lips a man plays a banjo. Along Town Foot a crowd queue outside The Queen Head. A view of the pub sign above the door is followed by people going inside. The film cuts to show Alistair Anderson sitting in the middle of the room surrounded by a number of musicians. Around the edge of the room the audience sit and listen to him speak. Willy Taylor and Will Atkinson sit next to each other chatting. Kathryn, Rebecca Hall and Paul Higgs sit in a semi-circle and the trio begin to perform the ‘Sidney Smith’s March’. General views of the audience listening who applaud when they finish. Will Atkinson on his harmonica gives a solo. To finish the session Willy Taylor leads in all the musicians, including Alistair Anderson on the English Concertina and Kathryn on a violin, in a tune. As the piece ends the film fades back to show Kathryn on stage with Lindisfarne. They begin to play ‘In the Mood’. The film then intercuts Kathryn on stage with her sitting and then walking along the River North Tyne and through Wark-on-Tyne. General view of a farm on a hill. The film ends with views of a rural landscape with sheep. Context Border lands: a life in folk A Northumbrian soul: the language and history of a landscape in the music of Kathryn Tickell. How does music come to belong to a landscape? Once a child prodigy at the Rothbury Music Festival, Kathryn Tickell has since coaxed Borders folk out of its ghetto. She plays the Northumbrian pipes with classical ensembles, jazz trios – even rock star Sting. But this 80s TV portrait of a young Tickell roots her music at home: the North Tyne country, wilful, remote, rich with Reivers history, and the tunes and ballads of shepherd musicians from whom she learns her craft. This TV documentary was broadcast in December 1987, the year after Kathryn Tickell turned professional. It’s especially rewarding for the insight into older Northumbrian musical and oral traditions. Tickell’s sessions with fiddle-player Willie Taylor, Will Atkinson on mouth organ and Joe Hutton on pipes, and her grandfather Joe Tickell’s performance on violin, are superb. Tickell herself reveals a deep connection to the Northumbrian landscape: the ruins of old hill farms are ‘like cairns for a people and a life passed away’.